SALT LAKE CITY — A former homeless teen is doing something to make life better for other homeless people.
Dawn Armstrong, the "missionary mom" featured in the LDS Church's 2014 feature film, "Meet the Mormons," launched an initiative Tuesday called "Closer to Home" with the goal to help homeless teens.
Armstrong hopes to start a national conversation that will bring awareness to the problem of teen homelessness and generate funds with the support of YouTube stars, public service campaigns and a mini concert series, she said in a press release.
As part of the launch, a video featuring Armstrong and Steven Sharp Nelson of The Piano Guys was posted on Facebook.
Armstrong shared her experience as a pregnant, homeless teen in a blog post last spring that was later published in the Deseret News.
It's easy to look past young people as they blend into the background of what's around us all the time, Armstrong said.
"You see a kid with a backpack at the library and you think she's just a student. What you don't realize is that everything that she owns is in that backpack and it's the only place she has to sit down and feel safe. Those kids playing video games at the kiosk in the mall? That's where those boys get out of the elements and don't get in trouble for loitering," Armstrong said in the press release. "The 'Closer to Home' initiative is focused on showing these kids, 'We see you. We see your need, and as a community will do better to step up.'"
Nelson looks forward to being involved.
"As I was looking forward to spending time with these incredible youth through this initiative, I couldn't help but picture my own kids in their place. Knowing that there are kids in our communities that are going without parents, without their basic needs met, you can't help but become emotional. It calls your heart to do more."
To learn more about the "Closer to Home" initiative and how to contribute, visit lovedawn.com.